:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Thursday, May 13, 2004  

On Transforming Good Cucumbers into Sour Pickles

Philip Zimbardo, a social psychologist and lead scientist in the Stanford Prison experiment of the 1970's, in which students were broken into groups of prisoners and prison guards, and which had to be stopped a week ahead of its end date because of abuses being carried out, has some wise words about the Iraqi prisoner abuse that is seemingly more and more widespread:

In the current situation, we must not allow the politicians and pentagon to dismiss the seriousness of what happened with the usual dispositional analysis of a few bad apples in a good barrel. Bush said it should not reflect on the good nature of all Americans or our military.

Wrong. The situational analysis says the barrel of war is filled with vinegar that will transform good cucumbers into sour pickles and will always do it to make the majority of good people, men and women, into perpetrators of evil, where there is:
anonymity-deindividuation, dehumanization, secrecy, diffusion of responsibility, social modeling, big power differentials, frustration, feelings of revenge, obedience to authority, lack of supervision that conveys a sense of permissiveness.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 5/13/2004 03:57:00 PM | |


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